It is perhaps surprising that a vulnerable and frail character such as Ophelia could have the great impact on the play that she does.
Hamlet seeks to avenge his fathers murder and is constantly seeking to find out the truth behind the suspicious death.
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in early 17th century, with the first print being dated back tohe incorporated ideas from other sources such as Saxo Grammaticus and the history of Denmark.
Various themes run throughout the play, the most significant being revenge, as well as death, insanity and suicide. Shakespeare borrows ideas for Hamlet from the story of Saxo Grammaticus, which was written in early 12th century, the outline of both plots are almost one and the same.
The protagonist in Saxo Grammaticus is Amleth, also a Danish prince, who again seeks to avenge his fathers murder, it can be said that Hamlet is a contemporary version of this same character.
However in Hamlet, Shakespeare goes to great lengths to achieve in-depth characterisation for each protagonist. All the characters in hamlet have a dramatic purpose.
By giving Hamlet a contemporary setting, Shakespeare was able to depict the views and morals of his own society and incorporate them in the play.
Shakespeare was writing for a modern audience so it made sense giving the play a contemporary setting, as would be easier for them to relate to the themes that run throughout the play.
By using Ophelia in one of the sub-plots of the play, although she also plays a major role in the main plot, Shakespeare depicts how women were viewed at that particular time. We see that she is the title characters love interest and also the victim of his revenge and that this leads to her eventual insanity.
Both these characters are weak and show us that women at that time were seen to be of little importance and were defiantly inferior to men, this is further proven by the fact that the only two women in the play die before the end. Shakespeare depicts both characters as being weak, Ophelia for being unable to handle the rejection of the man she loves, Hamlet, which leads to her insanity and eventual suicide.
Her sexual lust also drove her to remarry, which was also seen as a weakness at that time. West claims that it would be extremely nai?? She claims that this interpretation would only suffice in a society that frowns upon sex, something that this society has left behind.
This is a bold assertion as it claims that Ophelia is merely a device used by Shakespeare to help build the bigger picture, similar to the beautiful young women presented in Saxo Grammaticus.
Here she is portrayed as being extremely passive as she apparently agrees with all her brother and father have to say to her and is obedient to their wishes. She is sexually inexperienced and innocent when it comes to that subject, as her relationship with Hamlet is of respectable nature and her chastity is never in question.
From when we first see her in Act 1, Scene 3, Ophelia is a kind; affectionate and loyal to her family she is respectful towards both her father and elder brother and shows much love towards them. Polonius warns her of the intentions of Hamlet not being dignified and that instead of carrying on her liaison with him she should take on the role of dignified young woman.
Polonius then advises her against any form of relationship with Hamlet due to his disreputable motives. To counter this interpretation of Ophelia we see the contrasting view that she is sexually aware. Rebecca west interprets Ophelia as being sexually active and not as passive as she may portray herself to be.
It also shows her strength of character, as it would take some valour to question her elder brother. The metaphor she uses and the comfort with which she uses it also suggests her sexual knowledge, which supports the idea that her relationship with Hamlet is of a sexual nature.
It would be cynical to believe Ophelia was an innocent and chaste young woman, these interpretations take all that Ophelia says and does in Hamlet at face value and fail to realise the deeper meanings of what is being said by Shakespeare.
The actress Francis Barber played Ophelia in a stage version of the play in Barbers portrayal was an alternative to previous depictions of the character, in that she was not sexually active nor was she nai??
She is portrayed as being a victim of the patriarchal society she lives in, her sexuality is suppressed and she also suffers psychologically, as we see when she loses sanity.Expressing that Hamlet being a prince, would marry for the good of the state and due to the differences in class, Hamlet would not marry Aphelia.
Alerter also believes that Hamlet cares for her but “loves” her only for sexual need. Ophelia Ophelia is a simply depicted character whose main plot functions are to be Hamlet's long-standing girlfriend and to suffer greatly and eventually die because of the corruption in Denmark.
The daughter of Polonius and brother of Laertes, she is a soft-spoken and beautiful female. In William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ the character Ophelia performs a very interesting and important role in the elaboration of the plot.
Ophelia is a tragic victim, a common component of Shakespeare’s revenge tragedies and something that the audience would have come to expect. ) Hamlet, being as witty as he is, is using “nunnery” as a slang term for brothel.
He quite simply calls Ophelia a whore. Perhaps Hamlet is finally releasing the negative feelings he as for Gertrude more severely towards Ophelia. Ophelia Ophelia is a simply depicted character whose main plot functions are to be Hamlet's long-standing girlfriend and to suffer greatly and eventually die because of the corruption in Denmark.
The daughter of Polonius and brother of Laertes, she is a soft-spoken and beautiful female. Death of female characters is a main theme in all three texts, including A Doll’s House.
In the most famous tragedy Hamlet, all the characters die, including the female ones, Gertrude and Ophelia.